Pirate Site Hit Hard By Google Search Ranking Penalties, Per Reports

Popular pirate sites are noticing a dramatic drop in search traffic as a results of anti-piracy measures Google recently updated. The search algorithm, which was in the works for years, aims to rid the Web of pirated content.

Google's Pirate Update penalizes sites that are repeatedly accused of copyright infringement. The filter, which is periodically updated, impacts the ability to rank well in Google search query listings. Torrent reports that the update has impacted many of its sites. In fact, earlier this week all search traffic on ISOHunt -- a popular Torrent Web site -- dropped in half, per one report.

In the week ending Oct. 24, 2014, The British Recorded Music Industry made more than 2.5 million takedown URL requests from 298 sites, followed by MG Premium at 1.2 million on 1,000 sites, and Recording Industry Association of America at about 732,023 on 253 sites.

The impact from the algorithm update varies depending on the site and how much it relies on Google traffic. Sites like The Pirate Bay, with little traffic coming from Google, have little concern. One report suggests it is looking at the change as a bonus because it gets little traffic from Google. If the search-related content doesn't serve up on Google, those seeking the content will go elsewhere to find it.

Google recently published a blog post on how the company combats piracy across its services, from ad formats to downranking sites about which it receives a large number of valid Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices. As part of the changes, Google removed more terms from autocomplete, based on DMCA removal notices, and demoting autocomplete predictions that return results with many DMCA demoted sites.

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